If you haven’t watched Black Mirror you’re missing out. Black Mirror is a sci-fi anthology exploring the good, the bad, and the ugly of technological advances in a futuristic society. Each episode has its own story and twist that you might not see coming. (Always skip episode 1 of season 1. If you know you know.) I’m currently re-watching the show through a self-care lens and made it through one of my favorite episodes. Here are 3 self-care lessons from “Nosedive.”
(If you haven’t watched the episode, stop reading and come back after you watch it!)
“Nosedive” follows Lacie, a young woman living in a world where people’s social media rank controls their ability to navigate society. Check out this clip from the show:
The episode follows Lacie as she tours a new luxury apartment. Lacie cannot afford the rent, but learns that she can receive a discount if she has a 4.5 rating. (She has a 4.2 at the start of the episode.) A rating consultant confirms that Lacie has several high ratings from service workers. However, she’ll need ratings from “high 4s” to boost her own rating in time to qualify for the discount. Lacie’s dreams seem to come true after she receives a call from a childhood friend Naomi. Naomi, who has a high 4 rating, asks Lacie to be her maid of honor and give a speech at the reception. Lacie is thrilled because the wedding’s guest list is filled with high 4s people.
Long story short, all hell breaks loose. Lacie does not earn the rating she needs to qualify for the discount. In fact, her rating plummets.
Here’s what the episode taught and reminded me about self-care:
1) Pursue true happiness.
We meet Lacie’s brother during the episode. Her brother has a “lower” rating (he’s in the 3 range) but seems happier and less stifled than Lacie. From Lacie’s perspective, her brother is a lazy gamer who doesn’t want more for himself. As a viewer, I see a middle ground in her brother’s life. The brother still has a decent rating but seems to live a more free and fulfilling life than Lacie.
Lacie would’ve been happier if she focused on relationships with friends rather than the apartment and fake life. Unfortunately, the tour of the new apartment pushed Lacie into this pursuit of a high rating. She could’ve avoided her struggles we see during the episode if she’d been happy and content from the start.
2) Be okay with yourself. Life can come at you quickly.
We also watch Lacie navigate the social life in the work environment. Lacie’s co-worker Chester is going through a breakup. We don’t know the reason for the break-up. However, we learn that everyone in the office supports Chester’s partner instead of Chester. Lacie juggles societal norms and simple kindness as she encounters Chester in the office. She supports the him at first (to her detriment). But later, she ignores him as he asks for a high rating to enter their office building. Chester’s rating eventually drops below a 3.5 rating and he can no longer enter the building.
Life comes at you fast.
Lacie arrives at the airport for the flight to Naomi’s wedding to learn that her flight was cancelled. She’s obviously frustrated, but causes a bit of a scene. Airport security comes over to address the situation and guess who works as security now?
Chester! I won’t say too much about what happens after Chester arrives but karma is definitely involved.
This plot line shows what could happen if you don’t (1) practice the self-work necessary to be secure within yourself, and (2) extend kindness to people. Lacie had the opportunity to help Chester outside of her other co-workers’ view but she chose not to. Perhaps she was concerned about getting low ratings from spectators who saw her give Chester a high rating. I can understand, but not agree with, those societal pressures.
But remember what the consultant said? Prior to the wedding, Lacie received consistently high ratings from strangers (like service workers). Although high ratings from strangers would not have provided Lacie with the rating required in time for the discount, her behavior is not excuse. Lacie’s actions catch up to her as she encounters her co-worker at the airport. Lacie could’ve avoided this interaction and the punishment she received if she had a high sense of self-worth and self-love.
3) Cultivate self-awareness.
By now you probably see that the entire episode was a huge lesson in self-awareness.
As Lacie makes her way to the wedding, she encounters a truck driver with a 1.4 rating. The truck driver offers Lacie a ride while sharing her story about how she got to a 1.4 rating. Despite her rating, the truck driver is happy – joyful, even. She’s free. Of course, Lacie is so blinded by her dreams that she can’t see the reality of the situation. Lacie seems to pity the driver without realizing that “free” people in her life feel sorry for her.
What a lesson is self-awareness! Lacie misses all the signs of true happiness and joy throughout the episode as she chases her false dream. I feel for Lacie, but she could’ve avoided her struggles if she had the self-awareness earlier to realize that true happiness does not lie in a high rating.
You should definitely watch the show even though I shared a lot of details! There’s so much more to the episode (and the entire series). But those are the 3 self-care lessons from Nosedive. 10/10 recommend!
What show taught you about self-care?